This study investigated the effects of age at time of testing, hearing history (age at hearing loss) and hearing status on melody recognition. Four groups were compared: children with normal hearing thresholds, and three groups of cochlear implant recipients (children with prelingual deafness, children with postlingual deafness, adults with postlingual deafness). Participants were tested for recognition of familiar melodies (no lyrics) in a closed-set task. Groups differed in accuracy in the following rank order (most to least accurate): children with normal hearing thresholds, adult cochlear implant recipients, children with postlingual deafness, children with prelingual deafness. Melody recognition scores were correlated with age, variables regarding hearing history, musical background/experience and speech perception scores. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.